quattro is Audi and Audi is quattro – the brand and the technology are indelibly linked. In celebration of the 30th birthday of the Sport quattro, Audi will present its legitimate successor at the 2013 IAA in Frankfurt am Main. The Audi Sport quattro concept show car continues the grand quattro tradition, with a stunning coupe design and plug-in hybrid drive with a system output of 515 kW (700 hp).
quattro is more than just a technology – quattro is a philosophy. The term stands for driving safety and sportiness, technical competence and a dynamic approach to life. Since the debut of the “Ur-quattro” in 1980, Audi has sold more than five million cars with permanent all-wheel drive, far more than any other premium manufacturer worldwide. The strengths of the quattro concept and its successes in racing have been impressively displayed for over three decades now.
One legendary Audi classic is the Sport quattro, which made its debut at the 1983 IAA and was designed as a homologation model for the World Rally Championship. With 225 kW (306 hp) and many technical innovations, it was the supercar of its day. The short wheelbase, which honed the handling, gave the Sport quattro an unmistakable look. The competition car wrote racing history. Walter Röhrl drove it to a convincing victory in the 1987 Pike's Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, U.S.A.
Like the Audi Sport quattro, the Audi Sport quattro concept was designed in the spirit of racing. None of its design solutions are an end unto themselves. Each is driven by a technical function, and several are an homage to the quattro models of the early 1980s. These include the angular, flat C-pillars and the rectangular double headlights featuring Audi's groundbreaking Matrix LED technology, which will be available by the end of this year in the refreshed Audi A8.
The front of the show car is characterized by the hexagonal single-frame grille with a new, sculpted grille insert, a typical element borrowed from racing. Its lower section is virtually vertical; the upper section follows the line of the engine hood. The low grille emphasizes the width of the car. Two large, vertical blades divide each of the large air inlets, and their form is taken up by the creases in the engine hood. The CFRP splitter is shifted far to the front, as on a race car. The grille is part of Audi's new design philosophy and provides a first glimpse at the future design of the sporty production models.
The concept of elegant sportiness carries over to the interior of the Audi Sport quattro concept. The spacious cabin is awash in dark gray tones and precise lines. The interior is focused on the driver. The steering wheel, digital instrument cluster and head-up display are all in the direct field of view. A line running below the windshield encircles both the driver and passenger and integrates all ergonomic functions such as the door openers.
The lightweight construction typical for Audi is reflected both in the design and in the choice of materials. Viewed from above, the slim dashboard is reminiscent of the wing of a sailplane. The support structure of the interior is a carbon shell that also serves as a storage compartment in the side doors. Elements like this make lightweight construction visible. Great attention to detail is reflected in both the choice of materials and the workmanship.
The multifunction sport steering wheel provides a glimpse into future sporty production models. The control concept is also focused on the driver. All important information is displayed in the fully digital instrument cluster, another show car feature. The multifunction sport steering wheel is used to switch between a number of virtual 3D displays.
The plug-in hybrid drive makes the Audi Sport quattro concept a breathtakingly dynamic coupe. System output is 515 kW (700 hp); system torque is 800 Nm (590.05 lb-ft). Power flows through a modified eight-speed tiptronic to the quattro powertrain, which features a sport differential on the rear axle. According to the applicable standard, the show car consumes on average 2.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (94.09 US mpg), a CO2 equivalent of 59 grams per kilometer (94.95 g/mile).
The combustion engine is a four-liter, twin-turbo V8. It produces 412 kW (560 hp) and 700 Nm (516.29 lb-ft) of torque. The cylinder on demand (COD) system, which deactivates four cylinders under part load, and a start-stop system make the sonorous eight-cylinder unit very efficient.